As the rain and snow come down from heaven,
and do not return there until they have watered the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
and succeed in the thing for which I sent it. (Isa 55:10-11)
I read this passage early yesterday morning – Christmas Day (though I didn’t get back to writing until now.)
Starting with the most famous of the ‘Suffering Servant’ passages, 52:13-53:12, stirring though it is when we see its fullness in Jesus, jarred a bit between the Midnight Mass and the morning Family Eucharist of Christmas. It did, though, remind me that Christmas in all its wonder is understood fully only in the light of Easter and the thirty-three years in between.
When I got to chapter 54 and the promises of mercy, even more to chapter 55 and the promise of overflowing life, Christmas and Easter came together.
When I came to 55:10-11, verses I know so well, reading them with all that had gone before, in the light of Christmas morning, they brought it all together afresh and wonderfully.
As I said above, I was between the Midnight Mass, where we’d read John 1:1-14, with the wonderful sweep of the Word becoming flesh, and the morning service, with the beauty of the story of Luke 2:1-20. What better time to be reminded that the fundamental Word of God is God himself, become one of us in the child of Bethlehem. His promise is that Jesus will not return to him until his work is done – nourishing and refreshing the life of the world like rain on fields.
We will indeed need to go through the pain of Isaiah 52:13-53:12 to get there, but Jesus will return to his Father, having accomplished God’s purpose – to break the barrier of heaven and earth, and to nourish the growing seed of the Kingdom.
As Christmas continues, be blessed.